Setpoint (control system)

This article is about setpoints in control theory. For other uses, see Set point.
Block diagram of a negative feedback system used to maintain a setpoint in the face of a disturbance using error-controlled regulation. Positive error means feedback is too small (controller calls for an increase), and negative error means feedback is too large (controller calls for a decrease).

In cybernetics and control theory, a setpoint (also set point, set-point) is the desired or target value for an essential variable of a system,[1] often used to describe a standard configuration or norm for the system.[2] Departure of a variable from its setpoint is one basis for error-controlled regulation,[3] that is, the use of feedback to return the system to its norm, as in homeostasis. For example, a boiler might have a temperature setpoint, which is the temperature the boiler control system aims to maintain.

See also


  1. An 'essential variable' is defined as "a variable that has to be kept within assigned limits to achieve a particular goal": Jan Achterbergh, Dirk Vriens (2010). "§2.3 Cybernetics: Effective methods for the control of complex systems". Organizations: Social Systems Conducting Experiment. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 47. ISBN 9783642143168.
  2. B. Wayne Bequette (2003). Process Control: Modeling, Design, and Simulation. Prentice Hall Professional. p. 5. ISBN 9780133536409.
  3. W. Ross Ashby (1957). "Chapter 12: The error-controlled regulator". Introduction to cybernetics (PDF). Chapman & Hall Ltd.; Internet (1999). pp. 219–243.
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